Every once in a while, the British Government decides to mount a monumentally stupid and fatally misconceived hate campaign against one of its citizens. It tried this on me some years ago. I fought back, demanding and getting a summons from the magistrates against the ministry that had foolishly aimed to give me a hard time. Heads rolled right across Whitehall. Since then I have been treated with greater circumspection – if not quite with affection.
Now They are at it again. This time Their target is Michael Shrimpton, an amiable barrister who had provoked the wrath of the security apparat, which theoretically answers to the home secretary but in practice reports directly to the prime minister.
No doubt Mr. Cameron reads my WND column avidly every week, as every well-informed and discriminating statesman does. So my advice, Dave, baby, is to watch out before you take on Mr. Shrimpton, who faces perhaps the least well-founded and certainly the most bizarre criminal charge of the century.
In the run-up to the London Olympics, which cost the taxpayer $40 billion he doesn’t have and, in the curious metric of government accounting, was accordingly dubbed a “success,” Mr. Shrimpton, who has peculiar friends in highish places, got wind of a plot to sail a redundant German submarine carrying a second-hand nuclear weapon up one of the rivers in the southeast of England and then to detonate it during the opening ceremony.
If the plot had succeeded, it would have made a mess of the Olympics, and of London as well. Mr. Shrimpton, convinced that the threat was real, did what it was surely his duty in common humanity to do. He contacted the appropriate ministry and reported what he had learned. His reward is to face prosecution for making what turned out to be an erroneous report.
As you will see from Jerry Corsi’s account of this nonsensical affair, Shrimpton has already appeared at Southwark Crown Court for a preliminary hearing. The judge, who plainly thought the prosecution were wasting everyone’s time, deferred the trial till November, in defiance of the provision in Magna Carta that the Crown will not delay justice to anyone.
The prosecution demanded that Mr. Shrimpton be subjected to a psychiatric examination. On the face of it, that was a curious thing for the attorney general to do. After all, if Mr. Shrimpton is what Mr. Cameron likes to call “a loony and a fruitcake,” he is not guilty by reason of insanity. Case dismissed. The judge turned down the prosecution’s request.
Now, I have no idea whether anyone had really planned to sail a nuke up the river and blow it up, but the idea has a kind of ghastly plausibility about it. As every terrorist knows, we share with your own nation the output of a couple of dozen military satellites which, among other things, monitor even the tiniest trace of weapons-grade nuclear radiation.
As the smarter terrorists know, 10 feet of water is all it takes to stop all neutron radiation dead. That’s why Britain does not keep its nukes in land-based silos where the satellites can see them, but under the sea out of detection range.
When I told Mr. Shrimpton about the shielding effect of ordinary water at the time, he was delighted, and promptly offered me the post of secretary of state for the environment in a government he said he was forming.
Her Majesty’s Government (not yet a Shrimpton government) now finds itself in a pickle. If Mr. Shrimpton is of unsound mind, as they think he is or they would not have demanded a psychiatric examination, then the prosecution is bound to fail, at colossal cost to taxpayers.
If Mr. Shrimpton is sane, then HMG will find it has has bitten off more than it can chew. For Shrimpton will exercise every right of the defense to call secret intelligence evidence, such as reports from the network of nuclear-monitoring military satellites, and even a report of a supposed DNA test establishing that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya. Don’t ask me what that has to do with a plot to blow up the London Olympics. Mr. Shrimpton may or may not have all his marbles in the right place, but the prosecution is plainly out to lunch.
If any of the satellite reports shows an irregularity (which is doubtful if the submarine stayed at least a few feet below the surface), then Shrimpton will have obtained some corroboration of his case. Again, the prosecution will fail.
But the prosecution will fail in any event. Look at it from the jury’s point of view. Mr. Shrimpton, whether sane or not, was plainly trying to do the right thing. The prosecution, having made the fatal mistake of demanding a psychiatric examination, is in effect admitting that he did not in any way consciously intend to mislead or alarm the officials whom he contacted. He meant well. At the very worst, he was misguided.
All he has to say to the jury is this: “I thought the information I had received was accurate. I reported it straightforwardly on that basis. The information may or may not have been accurate. I had no means of knowing either way, but I regarded my sources as credible. Suppose they had been right and I had not reported what they told me, and London had been wiped off the map. What then?” The jury will acquit him, and rightly.
Mr. Cameron would do well not to underestimate Mr. Shrimpton. I first consulted him 20 years ago, when I was determined to stop the government from shutting down our beautiful railway line across Rannoch Moor and down to Glasgow and all points south. He had already successfully advised users of another remote line – the Pennines line from Settle to Carlisle.
Mr. Shrimpton and I sat in our boat and drifted along Loch Rannoch, as the eagles cried overhead and the stags bellowed on the hill (for it was October). We concocted a plot by which I should confront the then secretary of state for Scotland on national television with a list of the dishonest tactics the then-nationalized railway had used to push passenger numbers down to prop up the case for closure.
It worked a treat. The secretary of state, a waste of space called Ian Lang, looked thunderstruck when I told him on TV that his department had been dishonest and we were going to court. The judge ordered the train to run “till a’ the seas gang dry.” It is the only train in the world that is required by law to run. It costs the English taxpayer – God bless him – millions every year.
If, therefore, the Government proceeds with this hilariously misconceived prosecution, it will fail, deservedly and expensively. It is precisely this off-the-wall type of incident that, on a bad-hair day, can bring a government down.
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